2 Samuel 11 is probably one of the most familiar chapters in Scripture, because it recounts David’s sins with Bathsheba and Uriah. Something that really stands out to me is the way David’s decisions changed the trajectory of his entire life.
The last verse of 2 Samuel 10 says, “And when all the kings who were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians were afraid to help the people of Ammon anymore.”
This verse is significant not so much because of what it says, but because of what it represents. This is the pinnacle of both David’s reign and life. Everything will change after this. While David’s life was previously characterized by victories and triumphs, now it will be characterized by pain and loss. David spent much of the rest of his life moving from one horrible situation to the next.
Certain decisions change the course of our lives
Following David’s repentance Nathan told him, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Sam 12:13b). This reveals that, yes, we can be forgiven. Yes, God might be gracious. But our lives on this side of heaven might never be the same.
We have a tendency to presume on God’s mercy. We think we can engage in sins without experiencing terrible consequences, but many people would give just about anything to undo decisions they made because of the terrible price they ended up paying. They would give anything to have not hurt themselves, their spouses, their children, their parents, their churches, their friends – and the list goes on – the way they did.
Consider the hurt that can be caused by sinful decisions
How do people end up making decisions that have such terrible consequences?
- They didn’t think of the pain their spouse would feel. Whether this should be the case or not, it’s true that some marriages never recover because of selfish decision of a husband or wife.
- They didn’t think of the consequences for their children. Nathan told David, “The sword shall never depart from your house” (2 Samuel 12:10a):
- David lost the child of adultery with Bathsheba.
- David’s son Amnon raped his half-sister (David’s daughter) Tamar.
- Tamar’s full-brother Absalom, murdered Amnon.
- Absalom stole the throne from David and was executed by Joab.
- David’s son Adonijah stole the throne from him, and was executed by Solomon.
- They didn’t think of the loss of friendships. David’s sins deeply affected at least two men close to him:
- Eliam: Bathsheba’s father and one of David’s Mighty Men.
- Ahithophel: Eliam’s father (Bathsheba’s grandfather) and David’s great counselor and close friend (Psalm 41:9).
- They didn’t think of the effect on their testimony:
- After defeating Goliath, what is the second most common event that comes to mind when thinking of David? Bathsheba and Uriah. His sin overshadows much of the rest of his life. Nathan told David the enemies of God now had a reason to blaspheme Him, because of how bad it looked for the king of His people to behave so wickedly (2 Sam 12:14). People who mock Christians have more fuel for their fires when prominent Christians sin.
- When people think of Bathsheba, they should think of Solomon’s mother and a woman in the lineage of the Messiah (Mat 1:6), but it’s overshadowed by her adultery.
- They didn’t think of the grief they would cause God. You hear the pain in God’s voice when He talks to David: “I gave you [so much], and if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!” (2 Samuel 12:8)
God desires we learn from David’s decisions
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition.
God loved David, but he still recorded his sin with great transparency. He wanted us to avoid the sins and pain David experienced. We want to learn from this record in David’s life so as not to experience the same ourselves.
Discuss: What other examples in Scripture come to mind of individuals who made sinful decisions and paid terribly as a result?